Plug & Play? Yeah, Right!

Fer fuck sake! On days like this, it’s hard to believe I make a living working at a computer all day. But, at the same time, I realize that I do (read, that I’m addicted) because not having Internet access from every computer in the house is driving me crazy.

It all started two weeks ago when I agreed with El Poema that I should get myself a cheap laptop. After work that Friday night, I went to Business Depot and found a Toshiba that met that description, and asked the salesperson if I could bring it back if I couldn’t just plug it into my home network. He said sure, provided I bring it back within 14 days.

I got home and it took over an hour to boot it the first time. Fine …but then I tried to connect to the router/network and was stymied by having to know the encryption key. Damn if I knew what it was!

With everything else I have on the go these days, trying to figure this out is more than I can handle. So, I finally broke down and hired a techie from PC Medic to do a house call. He came yesterday and, although he found the key in two seconds, other complications conspired and he couldn’t get the damn thing to hook up. “That does it,” I thought. The laptop might not be at fault, but I’m bringing it back. On precisely the 14th day.

But then I thought I’d drop by PC Medic. Maybe I could get an equally cheap laptop and it would connect on the first try. I got a recycled laptop that still had XP as the operating system — as opposed to Vista on the previous one — but, once home, it became apparent this one wouldn’t connect, either. Thankfully, the PC Medic people agreed that if I couldn’t connect instantly, I could bring it back the next day and they’d reimburse me, no questions asked.

However, I then found myself with a computer inferior to the Toshiba I had before, so screw that! I brought the recycled thing back to PC Medic. And then I thought, What about if I got another Toshiba, try at least to connect to an unsecured network — for really, the whole point of this laptop is to have a computer I can travel with and connect to a wireless network. So, off I go to another Business Depot location and I get another Toshiba. I even talked them into giving it to me for the same price as the previous one. But where it was closing time and all, I had to go back today to pick it up, reformatted.

So I did. Even though it was considerably later than I said I would come by, it wasn’t ready yet and I had to wait quite a while. Back home, I boot the sucker up …but to make a long story short, this one is a total dud! But what’s more, now my router is a complete piece of toast, which I’m told is because it’s a very unpopular brand la la la la la. (It’s an SMC, in case you’re wondering.) So now, only the computer that’s directly connected can reach the Net. And only one of the two desktops in the living room can “talk” to the desktop in my office.

Needless to say, the dud is going back to the store tomorrow. And where I know Business Depot has several other Toshibas at the downtown store (as of last night, at least), I’m going to insist on getting one and go through this whole song-and-dance all over again.

That’s not going to fix the network/router, mind you. On that front, I’m not sure what to do anymore. I think I might have to get a non-SMC and start the network all over again. But there’s no friggin’ way I’ll succeed on my own. So, now I’m thinking I’ll have to bite the bullet and hire another techie who, I would hope, could get this all done in about two hours …’cause that’s what a techie does, right? (Kaching, kaching!) And then, I would hope to make copious notes so I can dismantle this bloody network, replug it once in Montréal in two months, and it’ll all work like a charm, right?

Can you tell this cascade of incidents has broke this camel’s back?